News from around the 32 counties of Ireland




Donegal's newest country music sensation, 10-year-old Simon Donegan, has just returned from a triumphant performance in Nashville. Simon, who has been described as "Ireland's next Daniel O'Donnell" was invited to perform for millions of listeners across the US on the Midnight Jamboree radio show. Despite only starting to sing within the last two years, Simon, who goes by the professional name Simon Peters, has already built up a glittering career.

(Source: Donegal Democrat)


County Down teenager Eoin Monaghan is to become one of the youngest contestants to reach the final of TV quiz Countdown. The 14-year-old, who attends Abbey Grammar School, made it to the final of the Channel 4 show after beating off stiff competition in earlier rounds. Eoin was the second seed on the cult TV show which is hosted by Jeff Stelling. Mr Stelling labelled Eoin a "boy wonder" after his performances on the show.

(Source: BBC News Northern Ireland)


Gardai have taken out a major distribution network for crack cocaine and heroin and arrested 45 people after officers went undercover in Dublin. Operation Marshall — a covert operation lasting six months — targeted on-street supply and distribution right across Dublin's inner city, but primarily the south-inner city. Gardai infiltrated the gangs across the supply line building files of evidence. Last Wednesday and Thursday officers went after their targets with the arrest of 45 people.

(Source: Belfast Telegraph)


Three men from Northern Ireland have been jailed for IRA membership. Gerard McGarrigle, 46, from Mount Carmel Heights in Strabane was sentenced to five years in prison. Desmond Donnelly, 58, from Drumall, Lisnarick, Fermanagh and Jim Murphy, 63, from Floraville in Enniskillen, were given three years and nine months. They were arrested in February after Irish police received a tip-off that dissident republicans were about to carry out a tiger kidnapping. They had denied membership of an illegal organization but were convicted last month.

(Source: BBC News Northern Ireland)


Galway City proved relatively resilient to the economic downturn on the jobs front during 2010, with the creation of more than 1,100 new positions. Although Live Register figures continued on the rise for most of the year, there were also more than a dozen significant jobs announcements – the majority of which were attracted by the IDA. Last week two companies based in Galway announced a total of 220 new jobs – bringing the total number of jobs announced here to 460 in just four weeks.

(Source: Galway Tribune)


Gardai held a checkpoint in Naas last weekend to check on the social welfare status of taxi drivers in the town. In total around 33 cars were checked by social welfare and PSV staff last Saturday night in Naas town centre. “The checkpoint was conducted in relation to investigations into social welfare fraud,” said Sgt Whitty. Some people driving taxis may be receiving the Back to Work allowance and only permitted to drive a certain amount of hours a week.

(Source: The Kildare Nationalist)


A former resident of St Joseph's Orphanage in Kilkenny city is to run as a candidate in the upcoming general election. Noel G Walsh of Rioch's Street in the city spent his childhood in the notorious institution where a number of pedophiles preyed on young children with devastating consequences. One of a family of 13, he overcame the physical an d sexual abuse there and is now a community activist, helping people with their problems they may have with the HSE and/or various government departments and agencies of the State.

(Source: Kilkenny People)


Quite where the Irish Open will find a headline sponsor for next July’s event is still anyone’s guess, but at least the European Tour were able to confirm one of the best established events on the schedule will return to Killarney Golf and Fishing Club over the August Bank Holiday weekend next year. George O’Grady, the European Tour chief executive, made the announcement when in Dublin for last week’s Irish Links Society Dinner.

(Source: Irish Times)